Automotive air-conditioning repairers may specialize in the repair and installation of automotive air-conditioners. They may service the various components of air-conditioning systems, including compressors, condensers, and controls. Because they are required to handle and dispose of refrigerants, they might need to pursue specialized training on Federal and State regulations relating to these chemicals. They test systems using electronic testing devices, and also base their diagnosis on the information they receive from customers about the nature of the vehicle’s malfunction. After isolating the specific problem, they may determine the type of work that needs to be done. After completing the necessary repairs or replacements, they usually test-drive the vehicle to ensure it is in working order.
Automotive air-conditioning repairers may need to have good analytical skills, as well as strong interpersonal communication skills. Because they are constantly required to keep up with new technology and learn new techniques, they should have well-developed reading, mathematics, and computer skills. They need to have an overall understanding of how vehicles operate, as well as an aptitude for mechanical work. Due to the fast-paced increase in automotive technology, it has become highly advantageous for these workers to obtain proficiency with sophisticated computer and electronic equipment. Experience working on vehicle as a hobby, or in the Armed Forces, can be advantageous.
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2010, automotive air-conditioning repairers earned a median hourly wage of $17.11. The following shows the median annual salaries for the industries employing the highest numbers of automotive air-conditioning repairers:
- Local government – $18.04
- Automobile dealers – 17.66
- Gasoline stations – 13.04
- Automotive repair and maintenance – 12.77
- Automotive parts, accessories, and tire stores – 12.60
Training and Education
Automotive air-conditioning repairers learn their trade through a wide variety of routes involving education, training, and certification. While a small number will learn only from assisting other experienced workers, it is highly recommended to complete some type of high school or post-secondary vocational school program. As technology becomes more complex, formal training becomes more important. The quality of high school programs can vary, but some programs, such as the Automotive Youth Education Service (AYES) offer students a basic technician certificate that they receive along with their high school diploma. After high school, there are many options. Trade and technical schools offer programs lasting from 6 months to a year, while community colleges provide more extensive programs that last as long as 2 years and supplement the automotive curriculum with English, mathematics, computers and other electives.
Some even add classes in customer service and stress management to help their graduates become more employable. Some automobile manufacturers offer 2-year certifications as well. For most employees, it will take between 2 and 5 years of on-the-job experience to become a fully proficient journey-level service technician. Automotive air-conditioning repairers can voluntarily become certified through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) by having at least two years of experience and passing a written exam. You can check out a list of